What Students Really Think About the New SAT

Posted by Rosanna Wang on Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Rosanna Wang

Rosanna is a senior Marketing and Information Systems major at Boston College and a Marketing Intern at Testive. At BC, she serves as a Teaching Assistant and the Publicity Chair of the Marketing Academy. Oh yeah, and she’s a fashion designer too.

After months of speculation, the New SAT was first administered to the masses on March 5th, 2016.

So, what did students who took the test really think about it?

Let's find out.


The Chronicle of Higher Education took a look at what students had to say about the test on everybody's favorite 140-character social media site: Twitter.

One student wrote, "Never getting into college after that #SAT". Another student posted "Can u say clown college #SAT."

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Students also weren't afraid to get political. "Last math section was worse than Trump … #SAT."

Hashtags aside, the consensus seems to be that the test was very tiring (but to be fair, so was the old SAT). The reading passages seemed to be liked, but were too long and wordy.

Math problems were more relevant to what students had been learning in school. Some students thought that the math problems were too intentionally tricky, though, as well as also being too wordy.

Overall, students seemed to think that the test was more relevant than the previous version.

Luckily for the College Board, whose main intent with redesigning the SAT was to make the test more relevant to what students were learning in the classroom, almost 75% of surveyed students said that the material at least somewhat related to what they were learning in school.

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The New York Times asked students what they thought about the new test. Their responses seem to be on par with our previous findings.

One student agreed that the reading section was easier, saying "I liked (the new test) better than the old one. I thought that it was way more applicable to what we've been learning in school. The English was a lot easier for me than it was with the old one."

Another student said that the math section was a bit more difficult, but added that, "It was more algebra based, but I think I was able to perform a lot better on it than the old one because it was stuff that I actually learned in school."

Statistically speaking...

CNN also published a post taking a look at what the verdict of the New SAT was. They reference a survey which reported that 30% of students thought the overall test was harder than expected, 22% found it easier, and 48% reported that the difficulty was on par with their expectations.

However, 41% of students thought that the math section was more difficult than they thought it would be. Only about half of the students said they felt comfortable answering the non-calculator section without a calculator.

75% of students reported that the reading section was easier or the same difficulty that they expected.

It seems like the math section on the new test may be much more challenging than the math section on the previous test (which can partially be attributed to the lack of calculator in some sections), while the critical reading section is around the same or easier (thanks to the easier vocabulary).

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Speaking of vocabulary, last year when the College Board surveyed students about whether the vocabulary words used on the test would be useful to them later on in life, only 55% agreed. This year, after the NEW SAT, 80% believe the vocabulary words will be of use.

Another survey referenced reports that in a survey of over 8,000 test-takers, students prefer the NEW SAT by a 6 to 1 margin over the old SAT. That should be good news to the College Board.

Sounds like overall the test was tiring, but is an improvement over the old SAT. Perhaps a little sigh of relief for both students and the College Board.

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